Saturday, March 31, 2007

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

So I have no idea when I actually started this book. I suspect it was in January. I remember it was so soon after Baby Bear went home that I found reading about a women whose two month old died way too painful. So I put it down and dusted it off today.

V. good read. I liked Good In Bed and In Her Shoes (and I also like the movie adaptations of In Her Shoes BTW) so I am not surprised that I enjoyed this one. It's about three new moms who meet in a prenatal yoga class and how they develop into mothers. The pivotal character, Lia is the mom who lost her baby - she is an actress in Hollywood and actually ends up leaving her actor husband and fleeing the city to someplace near her home. So it's interesting that all of the "here's what motherhood means to me" revolve around an axis of loss of a child.

I like this book because it presents different "models" for motherhood - career obsessed and fitting a baby in, hippy mom who wants to do everything naturally and stay at home, obsessed, perfectionist mom who tracks, records and analyzes everything. There are also interesting discussions of each woman's relationship to her own mother. The workaholic grew up poor with an alcoholic mom, and works hard to make sure that never happens again. The perfectionist mom grew up with an activist mother who felt that wealth and privelage would guarantee her kids turned out all right. I can't really recall what hippy mom's mom was like but her MIL is a holy terror that makes their lives miserable. In the end the way hippy mom comes to terms with that relationship is by imagining her MIL as a neglected infant, craving attention, whose cries no one answered.

My only complaint: the way we're hit over the head with the themes rather than letting them unfold naturally. I also react to the literary device of telling the story with four voices, and delineating those voices with the name of each character at the beginning of her chapter. If your voices are good enough, we'll figure out who's talking, OK?

Parenting Someone Else's Child: The Foster Parents' How To Manual by Ann Stressman

This book was OK. I always like reading about other people's experiences, I think because I am naturally nosy. Probably also why I like really crappy reality TV, too.

I probably would have got more out of this book if I hadn't already ready Ruby Payne's "A Framework for Understanding Poverty". That book, which I read for a work related projected had a pretty interesting central thesis about how kids in poverty grow up with vastly different value systems and that some behaviors we consider abnormal really only present adaptive behaviors that are often linked to survivial skills. Case in point: an enormous percentage of kids in foster care are medicated for ADHD. However, the author contends that the kids aren't distracted and inattentive - they are vigilant and watching their environment because they can't take for granted that their home is safe in the same way that middle class kids and children from stable homes do.

However, in both books I found myself reacting to the semantics. Seems like we're painting social classes with a pretty broad brush, without a lot of "objective evidence". Not to discount their expertise, I just didn't like how it was presented as a verifiable truth.

I also really hated the 11 point Comic Sans font. Not a good choice for books.

maneater by gig levangi grazer

Read this book for the online book club over at Tipped Uterus. Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The tone is hysterical and this book has some of the best lines I've ever read. I'll come up with examples and post here later but for now just know the story revolves around a spoiled rich girl living in Hollywood, with one of the foulest mouths ever (that's probably why I liked her). She has several close friends, most of whom kind of seem like bitches. She deliberately targets an up and coming producer who is rolling in the dough, only to find out that she's actually married his incredibly poor best friend posing as said rich boy. Too bad that's after she gets pregnant.

Huh, another motherhood book. Interesting, since I didn't even pick this one. LOL

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lust for Life by Adele Parks

A typical "grass is always greener" tale of two sisters. One is young and carefree, breaks up with her hippie boyfriend to look for more marriageable material and later regrets. The other is a dowdy, stay-at-home mom who turns into a hipper, more fun version of herself when her husband leaves her. Eliza (the free spirit) eventually finds all of those men are dull and boring and returns to the hippy.

Martha (SAHM) has a more interesting journey - she begins wearing Deisel jeans and makes a naked friend named Jack Hope. She realizes she loves him, tells him that, scares him away, gets invited to live in America with him, realizes she can't leave her kids, loses him then swoons when he stays in London at the last minute so that they all presumably live happily ever after.

There are some really funny scenes in the book - Martha throwing wine at her husband is hysterical. And again, all the British dialogue makes me smile.

Just in case...

I am pretty sure no one is reading here. But on the off chance that someone stumbles over, I wanted to direct you to a new online bloggy bookclub over at Tipped Uterus.